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NYC4Life Oct 16, 2008 11:31 PM

Real Deal New York

Updated On 10/16/08 at 03:48PM

Halstead uses taxi rooftop ads as vehicle for advertising
Halstead unveils rooftop taxi ads

By Candace Taylor

Halstead Property is taking its new advertising campaign to the streets.

Some 200 of the city’s new hybrid taxicabs are now displaying ads for the real estate company on rooftop digital video screens.

The double-sided LCD flat-screens first appeared atop New York City cabs in March. Though real estate firms have long advertised on taxi rooftops and on TVs inside the cabs, Halstead is the first to take advantage of the new LCD technology, according to Halstead President Diane Ramirez.

“They’re incredibly eye-catching,” Ramirez said. “You just can’t miss them. They’re above the sea of car roofs.”

The cabs with ads, which feature slogans from the company’s fall luxury ad campaign, were rolled out yesterday afternoon. The ads will run on a continuous loop 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for more than a month, minus two hours when the cabs are cleaned and refueled. The same ads will also be displayed on kiosks throughout the city starting Saturday.

“Name-dropping doesn’t sell high-end property,” one green-and-white ad reads. “We do.” The campaign was devised by Pool Inc., the same firm that oversaw Halstead’s 2006 brand overhaul.

The taxi campaign is part of Halstead's new “S3” service for sellers of properties for more than $5 million. With S3, brokers meet with Halstead’s marketing department to create a customized plan for each property, then chart its progress through an online “marketing checklist,” which shows advertising initiatives and Web statistics for the listing, such as the daily number of visitors to the listing page.

“They don’t have to go to the agent and say, what’s been happening this week?” explained Robyn Kammerer, Halstead’s vice president of communications. “It allows the seller to have more control.”

Halstead is not the first company to advertise on taxi rooftops.

Christina Lowris, an executive vice president of marketing and advertising at the Corcoran Group, said Corcoran has advertised on taxi rooftops on and off for the past 10 years, though not in a digital format. For now, though, Corcoran is pleased with the success of its interior tax ads, she said, and may look to expand them in the future.

“We’ve had amazing success with the taxicab screen as a medium, so we’re going to stick with that,” she said. “You have a more captive audience in the back of a taxi than on top of a passing cab.”

Now is the ideal time to launch S3, Halstead's Ramirez said, since sellers are looking for a more strategy-based approach in response to the softening real estate market.

“Now that everyone’s a little more anxious, the timing could not be more perfect for our message of service and accountability,” she said.

Though the campaign has been in the works for some time, the taxis will help spread the word, she said.

“We wanted to get the message out that our strategy and market plans, and this great accountability, is really what you need to sell property,” she said. “Sometimes you have to shout.”

NYC4Life Oct 20, 2008 11:50 PM

NY Daily News

Park Slope advocates push for simple fix at Fourth Ave./Ninth St. stop


Sunday, October 19th 2008, 5:20 PM

Park Slope advocates fear the Fourth Ave. stop at Ninth St. won't ever be refurbished because of budget problems - so they want simpler fixes made now.

"Instead of a high-dollar renovation, we can achieve something tangible for less money," said Michael Cairl of the Park Slope Civic Council.

Their proposal includes refurbishing a spot under the F-line viaduct for use as a newsstand or a cafe.

"That would be a way for the MTA to make some money," said Cairl. "In these times, the MTA needs to be more creative about how to maximize its real estate."

But Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said they've already determined what repairs need to be done, and said the project would begin in 2010.

New York City Transit spokesman Charles Seaton said the agency already has worked out "all of the parameters" for the project, which is now slated to be finished by 2012.

The project will include refurbishing station platforms as well as the windows over Fourth Ave.

"It's always more money to go back" and redesign the project, Seaton said.

High on the Park Slope Civic Council's list of needed improvements is the reopening of a long-shuttered entrance on the eastern side of Fourth Ave.
Park Slope residents now have to cross five lanes of traffic to get to the F train.

Transportation Alternatives' Shinpei Tsay said reopening of the entrance would make the dangerous intersection of Ninth St. and Fourth Ave. safer for pedestrians.

A large number of pedestrians are hurt there, she said.

"The street is very wide, so cars speed," she said.

The Civic Council also wants to see improved lighting under the F-line tracks of Fourth Ave., and some art in addition to the newsstand or a cafe.

They also say lighting and security should be improved in the long passageways riders must navigate to transfer between the F and R lines.

The station is "dank and dark," said Cairl.

© Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.

ardecila Oct 20, 2008 11:51 PM

^^ My favorite station on the entire New York subway system. It has a beautiful Art Deco design, and I'm glad to see that a renovation is planned.

NYC4Life Oct 21, 2008 5:44 PM

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Jay St. Station, MTA Bldg. Called Blight on Downtown
by Raanan Geberer (), published online 10-20-2008

Leaders Tell Agency: Rent It, Rehabilitate It or Sell It
By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilman David Yassky, with Borough President Marty Markowitz looking on, told the crowd yesterday that the nearly vacant MTA building at 370 Jay St. probably could be sold for $100 million. Eagle photo by Raanan Geberer

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – If you get off the subway at Jay Street-Borough Hall (A, C and F trains) to come to Downtown Brooklyn, there’s no way you can’t notice the missing tiles, exposed wiring, leaking walls and other signs that the station has seen better days.

And if you happen to get off at one particular entrance – the one that leads up to an open enclosure within the MTA building at 370 Jay St. – there’s no way you can’t notice the empty storefronts, peeling paint, trash, cigarette butts and signs that homeless people frequent the area.

That’s why Downtown Brooklyn business leaders, elected officials and others held a press conference Monday to demand that the MTA clean up both the underground station and the entrance in question, as well as the almost-empty building itself.

The building at 370 Jay St. was once the center of all activities for the city’s subway and bus system. Then, the MTA opened a new building on Boerum Place, and in 1998 it leased office space at 2 Broadway, Lower Manhattan.

The 370 Jay St. building has been “shrouded in a sidewalk shed,” in the words of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Joe Chan, for at least 10 years. Currently, says MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan, it houses only about 100 employees.

As for the station, it received a grade of “F” from the Transit Riders Council in the categories of odor, leaking ceiling, cleanliness of ceilings and leaking walls. It received a grade of “C” for lighting, cleanliness of floors, cleanliness of walls and litter.

Sell the Building, They Say

Borough President Marty Markowitz pointed out that “the MTA has budgeted $150 million toward renovating the building for its back offices, but says it won’t be fully occupied until 2016.” The building, he said, could be leased to attract corporate, retail or nonprofit tenants – or sold for at least $75 million.

“Let the building go,” Markowitz said, addressing the MTA. “Let 370 Jay St. go.”

Michael Nill, head of the Brooklyn Friends School, and Michael Gold of Sid’s Hardware both said that the building was never in very good condition to begin with, and got worse after the MTA started moving employees out of it. “I hear plenty of comments,” said Gold. “They complain about garbage, homeless people, disrepair.”

Chan of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership said that not only is the building vacant and in disrepair, MTA vehicles block the street off, so that bus passengers must walk into the street to catch buses. “The blighted condition of the Jay Street block and the subway station below contradicts and undermines the economic growth happening in the area and serves as a discouragement for additional investment.”

Assemblywoman Joan Millman recalled how three or four years ago, she and Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign took a tour of the facility and the station, “and we were able to peel the paint off the ceiling.”

Sam Ibrahim, general manager of the nearby New York Marriott Hotel of the Brooklyn Bridge, added that many of his clientele are foreign tourists, and that the station and entranceway are the first impression they see of Downtown Brooklyn. Some are scared to go into the subway there, especially at night, because of poor lighting, and the blighted condition may serve as a reason for some to stay in Manhattan instead the next time they come to the city.

In response, Donovan of the MTA said, “The MTA remains committed to renovating 370 Jay St. to house our shared services initiative and many other employees currently housed in leased office space. We expect to fund the renovation in the capital plan that begins in 2010, with initial occupancy in 2011.”

Regarding the station itself, he said, “MTA New York City Transit is investing $106 million to rehabilitate the Jay Street station and to construct a transfer station between the Jay and Lawrence street stations with ADA elevators.”

© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2008

NYC4Life Oct 22, 2008 8:24 PM

JetBlue's New Terminal at JFK Offers Huge Capacity, No Charm

Review by James S. Russell
Electronic kiosks sit in the departure lobby of JetBlue Airways new terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. Photographer: Susan Stava/Gensler via Bloomberg News

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- A canopy over the departure curb of JetBlue's new terminal at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport is about as welcoming as what you would find at a million-square- foot warehouse along the New Jersey Turnpike. You expect to see tractor-trailers backing into the doorways. The new building, called Terminal 5, opens to passengers today.

JetBlue Airways has invented a loyalty-inspiring bargain brand with smart customer service and meaningful design touches -- like bigger seats -- that actually improve today's degraded flying experience. A few of those touches still can be found within Terminal 5, but that savvy goes missing in the architecture of the building itself by New York-based Gensler, one of the largest architecture firms in the U.S.

As if intended to remind passengers of the genteel flying experience of yore, Terminal 5 wraps around Eero Saarinen's 1962 TWA Flight Center, stranding it on a plane of gravel. Beneath TWA's lusciously curving, white concrete roofs, graceful stairways swept passengers up to preflight martinis and views of the swirling crowds below.

Long obsolete, it's also a reminder of how changes in airline technologies and business models have ground to dust engineers' ideal layouts and architects' grandest aspirations.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which put up $663 million of the terminal's $743 million cost (JetBlue is covering the rest), reluctantly agreed to retain the Flight Center and is completing an asbestos cleanup. You'll be able to check in there someday, but other possible uses remain in play.

Bill Hooper, Gensler's project director, chose not to compete with the Flight Center's self-conscious acrobatics in his design of the expanded terminal. Yet he seems to have ceded any attempt whatever at expressiveness.

Massive Concrete Walls

The terminal hunkers behind massive retaining walls of precast concrete.

The departure canopy tips up at one end in what is described as a gesture reminiscent of Saarinen's soaring shape. It is, instead, one of many architectural afterthoughts: an awkward transition between a high pedestrian bridge and the lower terminal building.

Passengers will scurry through Terminal 5's ticketing hall as quickly as possible, so JetBlue has traded the old architectural grandeur for a ceiling that slopes up to high windows diffusing welcome daylight through thick metal trusses. The central half of the hall is devoted to waiting lines for the 20-lane security area.

Shoeless Feet

JetBlue claims it's the largest checkpoint in the country, and some nice details reduce the usual stockyard anxiety. Frequent travelers can select lines that bypass those with children or otherwise need to move more slowly. Rubber flooring feels more comfortable under shoeless feet. A long bench beyond the X-ray scanners allows disheveled passengers to regroup after a pat-down.

The security area opens to a 55,000-square-foot ``marketplace.'' Tightly packed masses of tables serving 47 stores, restaurants and fast-food outlets herd 40,000 or more daily passengers through this awkwardly laid-out triangle to three concourses, two of which are tucked obscurely in far corners.

The airline brought in David Rockwell, the well-known designer of restaurants and Broadway shows, to liven up the clumsy trusses supporting a tipped-up ceiling of corrugated metal. He suspended a 40-foot-diameter ring hosting video graphics using spindly metal wires that JetBlue, in a moment of PR desperation, has compared to Brooklyn Bridge cables.

Clever Stores

The airline redeems itself somewhat with clever stores -- among them a Ron Jon Surf Shop and Muji to Go, the low-priced Japanese retailer of minimalist clothing and pencil holders.

Gensler has inelegantly though effectively provided high windows to light the concourses, a spirit-lifter, especially for delayed passengers.

The architect devoted well-deserved attention to the waiting areas by providing a higher-than-average seating count. (The chairs are good-looking and comfortable but nap-resistant.) A high-stooled bar offers outlets to charge electronics and touch screens to order food.

JetBlue says it can deliver luggage to the claim area nine minutes after arrival. Since a one-hour wait for bags at JFK is not unusual, this counts as some kind of miracle.

Most of what's best about the terminal is service-driven. If JetBlue can keep that up, few will worry that this monument to human throughput (20 million passengers annually) resigns itself to the increasingly grueling experience of flying rather than enlivening it.

NYC4Life Oct 23, 2008 11:32 PM

NY Times

Maybe There Is Another Train Right Behind

Published: October 22, 2008

It’s one of the great eye-rolling moments of life in New York: as subway riders try to jam onto a crowded train at rush hour, the conductor makes an announcement telling them to stay on the platform because “there’s another train right behind this one.”
Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
Greg Lombardi, the L line’s general manager, seated at right, and Frank J. Picone, standing, with a TV monitor to be used at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station to show trains’ locations.

To which most straphangers respond: Yeah, right.

Now, New York City Transit aims to counter that skepticism with a novel experiment at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station on the L line in Brooklyn. Beginning in December, officials will install a computer screen at each end of the platform showing a graphic representation of the entire L line and the location of every train on it. Waiting passengers can watch the trains move along the tracks as the data is updated every 15 seconds. That way, passengers can see for themselves if there really is another train “right behind this one.”

If the system works, and riders like it, it could be installed in other stations on the L line, said Greg Lombardi, the line’s general manager, who helped create the system. Ultimately it could be used on other lines as well.

“There’s no end to the possibilities,” said Wilson M. Milian, a director of technology projects at the transit agency. He said that the same information could some day be displayed on the Internet, so that riders could quickly check the location of trains before heading to the subway.

Mr. Lombardi said the system might also be able to point straphangers to the least crowded cars on a train, using information from onboard sensors that monitor the weight of each car.

The screens at the Myrtle-Wyckoff station will complement a system that has been in place on the L line for more than a year, using electronic signs and announcements to tell passengers approximately how many minutes they will have to wait for the next train to arrive.

But because that system uses a computer program to estimate train movements based on a set schedule, it can sometimes be wrong — when, for instance, a train is held in a station because of a mechanical problem or an ill passenger.

Mr. Lombardi said that he has frequently heard complaints from riders who felt that the existing system was often misleading.

So he met in January with Mr. Milian and other technology experts and asked if there was a way to give passengers similar information in a visual way. The experts said they could capture real-time train locations from the L line’s computerized operating system — the most technologically advanced in the subway system — and display them on video terminals for riders.

They moved quickly and cheaply, for the transit agency. Technicians began adapting software. Mr. Lombardi went to Circuit City and bought three 42-inch flat-screen television sets on sale for $999 each.

The work has gone so quickly in part because it is the fruit of a new effort to change how individual subway lines are managed and make the transit agency less bureaucratic. As part of that effort, the L line was one of the first to get a general manager — Mr. Lombardi was given the job last December — empowered to make decisions over certain issues that directly affect riders.

The video system is still being perfected. But it was up and running on Wednesday in a room at the transit agency’s headquarters. It seemed a world away from the garbled, and not always accurate, announcements that have long plagued the subway.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

ardecila Oct 24, 2008 8:28 AM

^^ Looks awesome. Our new railcars in Chicago are supposed to have a similar graphic on an LCD screen within the cars themselves, showing where along the line your train is. I assume the same technology would easily adapt to the LED screens in the stations. (CTA also promised us some of those, but so far, we've seen nothing).

Anyway, MTA management seems to be competent and efficient - which sounds great from my vantage point.

NYC4Life Oct 24, 2008 9:31 PM

NY Daily News

New Metro-North station by Yankee Stadium right on track

Thursday, October 23rd 2008, 12:45 AM

The Steinbrenner boys aren't the only ones busy during this off-season in the Bronx.

Metro-North Railroad is making progress on constructing a train station near the new Yankee Stadium, and the railroad has scheduled a public hearing for November to determine fares to and from the station.

The hearing is required before the railroad can begin service to the Hudson Line station, which is expected to open in the spring.

The railroad also is refining schedules and operation plans for the station, which will see regular weekday and weekend service all year - not just when the Yankees are in town.

The emerging station has two 10-car platforms, a 10,000-square-foot covered mezzanine and a 450-foot overpass with elevators and stairs.

The overpass is just north of 153rd St.

"We're making good progress building this new station, especially considering the work goes on while trains go by, highway traffic continues above, and with buildings and columns all around," said Metro-North President Howard Permut.

"We look forward to serving this section of the Bronx, not just on game days but all year-round."

On game days, fans riding the Hudson Line to the stadium get a one-seat ride. Riders on the New Haven and Harlem lines will need to make a simple transfer at certain times.

On the way to the weekday and night games, New Haven and Harlem line riders heading south will be directed to get off at the 125th St. station and walk across the platform to a waiting shuttle train to the stadium.

Heading home during the work week, those fans will be able to simply board a train at the new station for direct service to their destinations.

On weekends, fans from Manhattan will have to take shuttle trains.

The different travel patterns are necessary because of the large number of trains - 700 - running to and from Grand Central Terminal on weekdays.

The new service will take advantage of a U-shaped stretch of track in the Mott Haven Yard called a wye. It connects the New Haven and Harlem lines, which run through the center of the Bronx, to the Hudson Line, which runs along the Hudson River.

Metro-North expects as many as 10,000 riders from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey will use the new station when the Yankees are in town.

The stop will be in the same fare zone as nearby stations such as Morris Heights and University Heights. A one-way peak ticket from those stops to Grand Central costs $6.50 while an off-peak ticket is $5. A monthly unlimited-ride pass costs $149.

The Yankees didn't contribute toward the construction of the station. The MTA is paying $52 million, while the city is kicking in $39 million, according to Metro-North

© Copyright 2008

NYC4Life Nov 4, 2008 2:27 AM

NY Times

Judge Kills Mayor’s Try at Greening Taxi Fleets

Published: October 31, 2008

A federal judge dealt a blow on Friday to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s efforts to improve air quality in the city, blocking a rule that all new taxis must meet stringent fuel efficiency standards.

The rule, which was scheduled to take effect on Saturday, would have made it mandatory for most cabs to be hybrid gas-and-electric vehicles by 2012. In response to the judge’s order, the city signaled that it would seek to achieve similar results by other means, perhaps by creating a system of incentives that would effectively push most cab owners to buy hybrid vehicles instead of the less fuel-efficient Ford Crown Victoria model that is the workhorse of today’s taxi fleet.

Fleet owners and other industry members had filed a lawsuit against the rule, which is a major component of the mayor’s effort to make city policies more environmentally responsible.

The judge, Paul A. Crotty, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, issued an injunction to stop the city from enforcing the rule because, he said in a written order, the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in a key legal argument —that only the federal government has the right, under existing laws, to set fuel efficiency standards.

In a written statement, Mr. Bloomberg said, “We are very disappointed in the decision.”

The statement said that the city was considering an appeal of the judge’s order. “The decision is not a ruling against hybrid cabs,” the statement continued, “rather a ruling that archaic Washington regulations are applicable and therefore New York City, and all other cities, are prevented from choosing to create cleaner air and a healthier place to live.”

In response to the judge’s order, the statement said, the mayor instructed the Taxi and Limousine Commission to come up with a new program, “with strong incentives for the use of fuel-efficient vehicles and heavy disincentives for use of the inefficient vehicles of a past generation.”

The commission is considering a rule that would reduce the number of years that less fuel-efficient cabs could remain on the road, a city official briefed on the commission’s plans said. Currently, cabs must be replaced after three to five years, depending in part on how frequently they are driven.

Ron Sherman, president of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, the principal group behind the lawsuit, applauded the judge’s decision.

“This has never been about whether or not the taxi industry should be embracing a greener, more fuel-efficient fleet,” Mr. Sherman said in a written statement. “This has been about safety and common sense.”

The rule that was to take effect on Saturday required that most new taxicabs achieve a fuel-efficiency rating of at least 25 miles per gallon, a standard that can be met almost exclusively by hybrids. The Crown Victoria gets 12 to 14 miles per gallon.

Some taxi owners switched voluntarily to hybrid vehicles in advance of the requirement. A commission spokesman, Alan Fromberg, said there were 13,237 taxis on the road. Almost 1,500 of those are hybrids.

Many in the taxi industry have resisted the change, however, claiming that the available hybrids were not designed for the rough-and-tumble duty of New York cabs and were more prone to costly breakdowns. They have also argued that the lighter and smaller hybrids are less safe, with occupants more likely to be injured in accidents. Judge Crotty said that questions of safety were not factors in his decision.

The decision said that the federal government set fuel efficiency standards under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which bars state and local governments from setting their own, competing standards.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

NYC4Life Nov 4, 2008 2:35 AM

Updated 9:11 AM

Straphangers Grade The D Line

D train riders are getting a chance to sound-off about their line this week.

Starting today, New York City Transit is handing out rider report cards along the D line.

The cards are being distributed between 7:30 and 9:30 in the morning starting today and running through Thursday.

Cards are being handed out today at the following stations: Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue, Bay 50th Street, 25th Avenue, Grand Street, Broadway-Lafayette Street, West 4th Street-Washington Square, and 34th Street-Herald Square.

Riders can get cards at more stations in Manhattan and the Bronx later this week.

Straphangers can also fill out the report card online at

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 4, 2008 11:07 PM

11/04/2008 10:56 AM

GPS System For City Buses May Lose Support

A plan to outfit city buses with satellite tracking devices could reportedly soon be grounded.

The Daily News says transit officials are considering killing the program which tracks buses and provides arrival time information to riders using information screens at bus stops.

The paper says transit officials have stopped work while they decide whether to go forward with the program.

The contractor for the project is two years behind schedule and has been delayed by software problems.

The signs that have been installed have been shut off because the data is inaccurate.

In 2005, New York City Transit signed a $13 million contract to outfit 185 buses in Manhattan with the technology.

The city has the option of expanding the program to the entire system for $99 million.

NYC4Life Nov 9, 2008 8:50 PM

NY Times

November 6, 2008, 5:28 pm

To Rename Triborough for R.F.K., $4 Million

By William Neuman
Kerry Kennedy, founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, at a media briefing on the renaming of the Triborough Bridge at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s headquarters. (Photo: John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times)

New York State will have to spend $4 million to replace road signs changing the name of the Triborough Bridge to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, a spokesman for the State Department of Transportation said on Thursday.

The spokesman, Adam Levine, acknowledged that the state is in a financial crisis and he said the money would not be spent right away.

He said that it will take time to survey the existing signs and design new ones, and that a contract for the news signs is not expected to be put out for bids until 2011.

“If the fiscal climate does not improve by 2011 the law does give us some flexibility so we will be able to perhaps make some adjustments to the schedule,” Mr. Levine said.

The are 139 signs that must be replaced, he said, on roadways in Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens leading up to the bridge.
In addition, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Transportation said it will spend $100,000 over the next six months to replace 12 large overhead road signs and 40 smaller signs. The reason the cost to the state is so much greater appeared to be because it must replace a larger number of the more costly overhead signs.
The Triborough Bridge has been renamed for Senator Robert F. Kennedy. (Photo: John F. Kennedy Library)

In January, with support from the Kennedy family, Gov. Eliot Spitzer proposed renaming the bridge in honor of Mr. Kennedy. A bill ordering the change was passed by the Legislature in June and it was signed into law by Gov. David A. Paterson.

Mr. Paterson and other elected officials are expected to attend a rededication ceremony for the bridge in Queens on Nov. 19.

Mr. Levine said that the state has already put up five signs around the bridge announcing the change in name. Those signs will remain covered until the ceremony. They cost $14,000, he said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the bridge, said that it had to change only nine large signs. The cost for materials, it said, would be $3,500. An authority spokesman did not give an estimate of the labor cost of making the change.

Mr. Levine said the transportation department is considering ways to make the new signs less costly. A shorter name makes for a smaller, lighter and less expensive sign, he said. That could mean that most signs will be as abbreviated as possible, with a likely version reading: “RFK Bridge.”

Already, ads have begun to appear in subway stations, on trains and on buses announcing the name change. The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights arranged for the financing for the ads, which, the authority said, cost $16,000.

The bridge, which opened in 1936, connects the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Mr. Kennedy was the United States attorney general when his brother John F. Kennedy was president. He was elected senator from New York in 1964. He was shot to death in Los Angeles, in June 1968, during his campaign for president.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

NYC4Life Nov 9, 2008 8:52 PM

New York Observer

Port Authority Boss Wants Federal Dollars For Jersey Transit Tunnel

by Eliot Brown | November 7, 2008

From the Holland Tunnel to the Golden Gate Bridge, many a tunnel and bridge were built during times of economic distress, with the federal government throwing taxpayer dollars at public works to stimulate the economy.

So why not add a new $7.6 billion New Jersey Transit tunnel to the list?
That’s what the Port Authority thinks, anyhow, as its chairman Anthony Coscia today called on Congress to include money for the tunnel as part of a stimulus package that is expected to be negotiated in coming weeks.

Mr. Coscia's remarks came during a business symposium in Jersey City.

The project, a set of two tunnels and new platforms by Penn Station known as Access to the Region’s Core, is awaiting federal funding to the tune of $3 billion in order to move forward. The project, which already has $4.5 billion in funding from the Port Authority and New Jersey Transit, has wide support, including the backing of James Simpson, administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, which would fund the project.

One small problem: The FTA’s well of cash for such projects has run dry.

It won’t likely be replenished for some time to come, leaving the near-term fate of the project uncertain.

Thus, Mr. Coscia seems to see opportunity knocking in the form of a stimulus package. Transit advocates and some in Congress have called for much of that stimulus to come in the form of dollars for infrastructure projects, as big public works create thousands of jobs.

“A federal economic stimulus package that includes ARC funding would allow us to get shovels in the ground in the first half of 2009 and get people to work as quickly as possible,” Mr. Coscia said in a prepared statement.

© 2008 Observer Media Group, All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

NYC4Life Nov 9, 2008 8:55 PM

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Transportation Alternatives Street Redesign Contest Announces Winners

by Raanan Geberer (), published online 11-05-2008

Designs Turn Brooklyn Traffic Nightmare Into Safe Public Space
`Streets for Everyone’ by Rogers Marvel Architects is one of three winners of a competition sponsored by Transportation Alternatives to redo the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
Photo courtesy of Rogers Marvel Architects

GOWANUS -- Transportation Alternatives announced three winners recently for "Designing the 21st Century Street," an open design competition that challenged New Yorkers to safely accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, trucks and cars on the same "complete street."

In this case, the street was the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street. The contest attracted more than 100 submissions from 13 countries.

“This is a particularly dangerous intersection,” said Wiley Norvell, spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, “because it has a lot of pedestrians coming out of the subway station and a lot of bus routes. Unlike wide intersections in Manhattan, where congestion makes the speeds slow, cars can race down Fourth Avenue most times of the day.”

The winning entries, "Shared Space" by Steven Nutter, "Streets for Everyone" by Rogers Marvel Architects, and "Streets Come Alive" by LEVON, prioritized pedestrians and bicyclists first, while maintaining the street as a transit hub and truck route.

Norvell pointed out that between 1995 and 2005, 55 pedestrians were struck and injured by cars there, 15 bicyclists were struck, and one pedestrian was killed. “Fourth Avenue is a very deadly corridor,” he commented.

One of the ideas of the redesign, Norvell commented, is to not only make the intersection safe, but to make the area a “destination” for walkers.

“Nowadays, if you’re just walking [around Park Slope], you’d walk down to Fourth Avenue, get to the intersection and head back to the Slope. We want to turn it more into a place where you’d want to find out what’s on the other side,” he said.

Jonathan Marvel of Rogers Marvel Architects commented, “We do a lot of projects with streets and with public space. This competition, this important intersection, could be a great template for some of our new ideas.”

One of the objectives, he said, is to create “multi-level” street use. The street would be shared between pedestrians, cyclists and cars – it would not just be for shopping, it would be for gathering and transportation.”

One unusual component of the Rogers Marvel plan is that the bike path would be in the center of the street, not off to the side. “We studied how cyclists use the turning lanes,” said Marvel. “Bikers like to go in straight lines – they don’t like turning. Being in the center allows them to be seen by other vehicles and gives them better protection.”

© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2008

orulz Nov 10, 2008 2:35 AM

I'm curious, what's the latest on the Staten Island North Shore and West Shore light rail plans? I understand there is some sort of alternatives study in progress. I think it would make the most sense to build the North Shore as an extension of the existing Staten Island Railroad, and the West Shore as an extension of NJT's Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line.

CGII Nov 10, 2008 8:51 PM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3872991)
Anyway, MTA management seems to be competent and efficient - which sounds great from my vantage point.



ardecila Nov 11, 2008 4:55 AM

Again, it's all relative... the CTA makes the MTA look like an ISO-9000 company by comparison.

NYC4Life Nov 11, 2008 6:37 PM


Updated 2:14 PM

MTA Threatens More Fare Hikes, Service Cuts

At a board meeting this morning, the Metropolitan Transporation Authority threatened more fare hikes and service cuts if the city and state cannot provide additional funding.

As a result of the economic slowdown, the agency said today that its deficit for next year has grown $575 million over the last four months to a total of $1.2 billion.

The MTA blames a decrease in state tax revenue and aid from the city.

"If the governor and the Legislature do not act within a certain period of time, in the spring, then the fare and toll increase and the service reductions will take place," said MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot "Lee" Sander.

In response, the MTA says that fares will have to increase. The question still remains of how much the hike will be.

The MTA had proposed an average increase of 8 percent across the board on fares on subways and buses, as well as tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels. However, it now appears the agency will have to propose an even larger increase.

The agency hopes that the state will be able to provide it with some new revenue stream to avoid these further hikes and service cuts.

Governor David Paterson released a statement, saying in part, "Addressing the fiscal challenges facing the MTA and the state over the next several years will require shared sacrifice, difficult choices, and cooperation from all funding partners. We should be open and transparent in facing these challenges and in discussing options."

Among the options being proposed is a toll on East River bridges.

Sources tell NY1 that a special state panel is still considering tolls on the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, and Queensboro bridges.

The commission, appointed by Governor David Paterson, is expected to hand over its recommendations on new funding sources next month.

Most drivers who spoke with said they were dead-set against adding any new tolls.

"I hate the idea. I hate it," said one driver. "I definitely don't think it's right, especially now the with economy; people are suffering and we don't have money to put food on our table."

"We're paying enough right now," said another. "It's just going to the city. It's like $100 before I even get into work, so I'm not for it, that's for sure."

"That's crazy," said a third. "In this economy now I think we're already hurting but, I guess they got to get the money from somewhere."

With the MTA warning that higher transit fares are on the way, taking the train – or the bus – will also take a bigger bite out of your budget.

"It's better to take the subway if there's going to be toll," said one New Yorker. "The problem is, the subway is already so packed. With another toll, it's going to be more packed."

The irony is that if the mayor's congestion pricing plan had passed in the spring, the city would have been eligible for $354 million in federal funding. That money has already been given to other cities.

Both City Hall and Albany would have to sign off on adding tolls to the East River bridges.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 11, 2008 6:37 PM

NY Times

November 10, 2008, 11:32 am

M.T.A. Faces $1.2 Billion Deficit

By Sewell Chan AND William Neuman

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority faces a $1.2 billion budget deficit in 2009 — $300 million more than it had projected in July — that will very likely require new fare and toll increases or service reductions unless it gets new state and city aid or finds new sources of revenue, officials warned on Monday morning.

At a meeting of the finance committee of the authority’s board, the authority’s chief executive, Elliot G. Sander, said the authority faces a dire fiscal situation that could influence riders across the subway, bus and commuter-rail networks. The deficit was caused, he said, by the collapse of revenues from real estate and corporate taxes, which until just a few years ago had given the authority a string of healthy surpluses.

“The word draconian is not inappropriate,” Mr. Sander said at a news conference after the meeting. He was flanked by the authority’s chairman, H. Dale Hemmerdinger, and its chief financial officer, Gary J. Dellaverson, in describing the potential service reductions.

“They will be very, very significant,” Mr. Sander said. “Whatever that mix that we come up with, in terms of fare and toll increases and service reductions, there’s no question that they would have an impact, significantly, on our customer and on the functioning of that region.”

The magnitude of the fiscal challenges confronting the authority was evident in a PowerPoint presentation presented at the meeting and posted to the authority’s Web site.

Real estate transaction taxes, which represent an important share of M.T.A. revenue, provided the authority with more than $1.4 billion in 2006 and nearly $1.6 billion in 2007. This year, the authority is on track to collect only $995 million in such taxes — about $50 million less than had been projected in July.

And the situation is expected to get even worse. The authority now expects to collect $895 million in real estate taxes next year, and $877 million in 2010.

The authority is required to pass a balanced budget in December for the fiscal year that starts on Jan. 1. A final decision on the fare and toll increases, and service cuts, will most likely not be reached until after a state commission on M.T.A. finances, appointed by Gov. David A. Paterson and led by a former authority chairman, Richard Ravitch, delivers its report on Dec. 5 and after Mr. Paterson releases the state executive budget on Dec. 16.

The Ravitch commission is contemplating imposing tolls on the four East River bridges — the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queensboro and Williamsburg Bridges — that are run by the city, unlike the authority’s bridges, like the Triborough, which already charge tolls.

Asked about the toll proposal, Mr. Sander, who was a city transportation commissioner in the Giuliani administration, replied: “I’ve previously said that from a broader transportation-policy standpoint, I’m comfortable with that, but that should not be interpreted as my support for it in this context. We are looking at that suggestion, along with many, as we’ve said publicly.”

Mr. Sander attributed the authority’s financial condition to the heavy borrowing for capital projects that occurred in the early part of this decade, when the authority was under the control of Gov. George E. Pataki and the previous chairman, Peter S. Kalikow.

“The 2000-2004 capital program was essentially put on a credit card,” Mr. Sander said, and is “the largest contributor” to the current operating deficit. Already, the heavy borrowing now costs the hundreds of millions of dollars in interest payments each year — and the figure is projected to rise to $2 billion by 2012.

Mr. Paterson said in a statement on Monday:
The financial information provided this morning to the M.T.A. Finance Committee is another reminder of the dire fiscal situation facing all New Yorkers.

In April, I appointed Richard Ravitch to head a commission charged with recommending strategies to fund M.T.A. capital projects and operating needs over the next 10 years, a period when the Authority will be under unprecedented financial pressure as it expands and rebuilds its core infrastructure to provide the additional capacity needed to allow the region to grow. The Commission will report its recommendations in early December.

Addressing the fiscal challenges facing the M.T.A. and the state over the next several years will require shared sacrifice, difficult choices and cooperation from all funding partners. We should be open and transparent in facing these challenges and in discussing options. The M.T.A.’s subway system, buses and extensive regional commuter rail network are the lifelines of the greatest city in the world, and I will continue to work with Richard Ravitch, M.T.A. Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger, M.T.A. C.E.O. and Executive Director Lee Sander, Mayor Bloomberg and the legislative leaders to ensure our transit system continues to serve the 8.5 million people who depend on it each day.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

NYC4Life Nov 13, 2008 8:50 PM


Updated 11/12/2008 10:19 PM

M96 Bus Named City's Slowest Service On Wheels

The Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives released their annual "Pokey" and "Schleppie" Awards Wednesday to point out the city’s slowest and least-reliable bus routes.

The Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives, two riders' advocacy groups, awarded the Pokey Award, which is shaped like a golden snail, to the crosstown M96 bus for being the slowest line.

The M96 bus was clocked in at just 3.7 mph.

"An excruciating speed. That's just barely faster than a human being walking, which is 3 mph," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.

The slowest buses in every other borough also garnered an honorable mention.

The B63 bus between Bay Ridge and Cobble Hill in Brooklyn travels at 4.9 mph.

The Bx19 line between the New York Botanic Garden in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan goes at 5.3 mph.

The Q56 bus between Jamaica, Queens and East New York runs at 6.1 mph.

Lastly, the S42 line between New Brighton and the St. George Ferry Terminal goes at 11.4 mph.

The group also handed out the Schleppie Award, for least-reliable bus service, to the M101, 102 and 103 buses, which run on Lexington, Amsterdam and Lenox Avenues.

According to MTA statistics, more than a quarter of buses on those routes were either bunched together or had big gaps in service.

But Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said recent adjustments to bus routes are proving useful and there is hope for improvement.

"Luckily, the MTA and the New York City [Department Of Transportation] are moving on Bus Rapid Transit in New York City. They need to do much more but the early returns are very positive," said White.

The Bx12 line along Fordham Road has riders pay before getting on the bus at curbside machines, which speeds up the boarding process.

"Bus speeds have improved by about 14 to 24 percent on Fordham Road, as ridership has increased, so that's a very positive sign that even as ridership is increasing, buses can go faster," said White.

Transit officials hope to expand the program, called Select Bus Service, to Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, First and Second Avenues in Manhattan and Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island.

However, the changes will take years, meaning that the next few Pokey Awards will still have a lot of competition.

MTA-New York City Transit issued a statement regarding the awards, saying the buses must compete with other city users, parked and double-parked vehicles, moving vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

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